What should I do about different desires in marriage?

I’ve been married 28 years and have always been on the wants more side. We have been in the 12 to 20 times a year category but it’s slipping alarmingly downward. I do not “demand the debt” and have accepted “i don’t feel like it” 100s of times. We did not sleep together on our honeymoon because my wife feared getting pregnant. It feels like she fears a loss of control. She has talked about feeling “unlady- like”, etc. I did not ask to have my way and, now, looking back, how the loss of what could have been stings. My wife is one of those women who doesn’t seem to be able to enjoy sex very much. She has never orgasmed. She claims most women feel this way. I can’t remember ever having sex more than two nights in a row. We once went a year and she showed no remorse, heightened desire. I have always held out hope that she would see sex as a wonderful and honorable act but now that I am 50 I am losing hope. Looking back I am heartbroken. Inside, I am howling with pain which slips into resentment. Was it all my fault? I beat myself up over that… My wife says she loves me but sex just doesn’t do anything for her. She gets annoyed/ upset when I bring it up. I do not know what to confess but feel this whole issue is consuming me. I do not think my wife is willing to change. I do not think she can. If I bring up Cor. 7 she will then be culpable and miserable. She is quite content with things as they are. I have tried giving her way but am attacked with erotic fantasies/ dreams that put my life in turmoil. I am struggling with resentment, confusion, depression–even suicidal thoughts sometimes. I vacillate between anger over the feeling of being robbed and depression at the thought my wife does not accept/ love who I am. How do I know if I should say I am sorry or try to convince my wife she should “pay the debt”? I am embarrassed to talk to our local priest and feel I will short change either her ( sinfull) or myself . No matter what the reality of what is right, I have begged God to rid me of this torment. I am stuck and at the end of my rope! Help me God! Please pray for me to find a way that pleases what God wants for our marriage.

Dear friend,

There is no reason for you to be embarrassed to speak to your priest about this. Your wife obviously has a psychological block. You need both need to get some counseling together. You need to do this soon. The longer you wait, the greater the danger of your resentment will be–which would become condemnatory. This has got to be a very touchy topic for your wife. She is in denial. But down deep, I expect that she feels guilty and ashamed. You really do need to share with her how much you need to get some help and how much you want to express your love for her in this way. Put the emphasis on you so that she will be less threatened. I do suggest that you talk to your priest or even to your doctor.

You may write me privately by clicking on my name. You are in my prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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